Monthly Archives: April 2015

Life is a beach

By Jim Beasley 


With beachgoing season quickly approaching, wouldn’t it be great if someone would develop an online app that would show you the best places to park to access your favorite public beach? Or maybe show you the closest public restrooms or showers? Maybe you need to find a way to reach the beach with wheelchair access.

Actually, such an app already exists — and it’s ready to help you better enjoy your trip to South Carolina’s beautiful coastline.

Just go to

This useful app from DHEC’s Division of Ocean & Coastal Resource Management can help you find the right amenities needed to help you plan your next fun-in-the-sun trip.

Let’s say you want to go to Isle of Palms. Just choose the beach from the list, and then search for the requested conveniences. A map will appear showing you the amenity you need and where to find it. It also helps you navigate from your current location to the best access point.

Whether it’s public transit, seasonal lifeguards, trash receptacles or a beach park for an oceanside picnic, this app enables you to find the right spot.

The app is readily available on your desktop. But it’s even more helpful from your smartphone, so be sure to bookmark it or add the icon to your home screen for your next trip to the beach.

Working to ensure your food is safe

By Cassandra Harris


With over 18,500 permitted retail food establishments across the state, our Bureau of Environmental Health Services team is working hard to ensure that S.C.’s retail food establishment owners and the public are kept up-to-date on our food safety regulations.

Did you know that all permitted retail food establishments in South Carolina undergo regular inspection to ensure compliance with Regulation 61-25?  Visit our website to stay informed on topics related to food safety.  Recently updated, the site includes fact sheets for traditional retail food establishment owners, mobile food units and the public.

Wondering what we look for during an inspection? Check out our Inspection Report and Marking Guide. You can even use our online search tool to find recent retail food establishment inspection scores for restaurants, delis, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores, retail meat markets, bakeries and seafood markets in South Carolina.

Helping students and parents prepare for the next school year

By Cassandra Harris

The most effective way to prevent tetanusdiphtheria, and pertussis (often called whooping cough) is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with the Tdap booster for preteens, teens, and adults. Starting in 2013, South Carolina 7th graders faced a new school entry requirement – showing proof of a Tdap booster vaccine 

Helping to ensure that all rising 7th graders are healthy and ready for school this coming fall, our central and regional public health teams are currently offering Tdap clinics in schools across the state.  Expanding on the success of last year’s School Located Vaccination Clinics, our clinics not only make it easier for children to access the vaccine, they also make it more convenient for parents who would normally have to take time off from work to get their child vaccinated.

As part of our ongoing efforts to prepare students and their parents for the new school year, our Lowcountry team has been working collaboratively with local schools– vaccinating over 400 6th graders in just 5 days earlier this month.  Speaking to his team’s success, DHEC Public Health Director for the Lowcountry Public Health Region Nicholas Davidson said, “We are building new partnerships with both public and private schools to expand School Located Vaccination Clinics to all counties within the regions.  There has been positive feedback from several school nurses, that ‘because of DHEC’s Tdap School Located Vaccination efforts, the parents are sending back proof of the Tdap vaccination earlier this year.’ We are excited that the Lowcountry’s efforts, to educate about the Tdap 7th grade vaccination requirement, are increasing of the number children vaccinated.”

For more information about our Tdap vaccination clinics, click here.

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

By Elizabeth Dieck


For many, Earth Day is simply a day that comes and goes, but the meaning behind the day is about much more than just planting a few trees. The day represents a future for generations to come and keeping the environment we all occupy healthy and sustainable.

Earth Day is always held on April 22, no matter the year, no matter the country, and is marked by leaders, citizens, organizations, companies, and agencies coming together to celebrate the planet earth. Events are usually held worldwide in support of environmental protection ranging from ceremonies and community service to educational seminars and parties.

To its credit, the day has brought some major change in policy such as the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

But Earth Day didn’t just occur on its own.

It was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson after the massive Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969 that saw approximately 90,000 barrels of crude oil spill into the Santa Barbara Channel, killing an estimated 3,500 sea birds as well as other marine animals like dolphins, seals and sea lions.

You can learn more about the history of Earth Day here.

Numerous organizations around the country hold large-scale block parties and learning experiences to educate others about the importance of the holiday. But regardless of whether you go to an event or not, anyone can celebrate Earth Day every day by being more aware of his/her environmental footprint and doing anything in their power to limit their impact on the environment. For example, you can try:

  • turning off lights and appliances in empty rooms,
  • turning off running water,
  • recycling and composting, and
  • ensuring all your trash ends up in a trash bin

Thank you to all of our staff for helping to do your part to celebrate and protect our environment today and every day.

DHEC Receives Two National GIS Awards

By Betsy Crick


Pictured from left to right:  Seth Church, Elzbieta Covington, Wes Askew, Jeannie Eidson, Craig Linn, and Phil Weinbach.  (Not pictured – Josh Boulware, who works out of DHEC’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management office) 

DHEC’s Division of Enterprise Applications, led by GIS Section Manager Philip Weinbach, was recently recognized at The Public Technology Institute (PTI) Smart Cities and Counties Summit with a 2015 PTI GIS Vision Award​.  A geographic information system (GIS) helps individuals visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. This prestigious, annual award is presented to outstanding individuals from within local and state government who have demonstrated a leadership role in GIS tools and sharing of GIS data across boundaries.

According to PTI Executive Director Alan Shark, “DHEC, along with the other award recipients, understand how to better serve and protect the public, and to enhance real-time decision-making through the use of GIS tools and data.  Individuals who are recognized as GIS Vision Award recipients have contributed to advancing enterprise-wide GIS, articulated a clear vision and recognized innovation, demonstrated leadership, and served as a champion for the use of GIS across and within the city, county and state.  I congratulate you for your leadership and for your vision!”

DHEC has also been selected to receive a Special Achievement in GIS award at the 2015 Esri User Conference.  Esri inspires and enables people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around them.  The Special Achievement in GIS award is given to user sites around the world to recognize outstanding work with GIS technology.  DHEC stood out from more than 100,000 others in receiving this award.  ​

The GIS Section at DHEC has made great strides in developing many publicly available applications using the JavaScript programming language.  These applications are mobile ready and work across platforms, iOS and Android.  The team has worked closely with program areas to add interactive mapping to our website​, which includes topics such as air monitoring, permits and planning, public health, water resources, and much more.

Congratulations to our entire GIS team for these outstanding accomplishments!